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TITLE
Memories of a showman - open-air circuses
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_WILLHAY_07
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Will Hay
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2288
KEYWORDS
showmen
carnivals
circuses
funfairs
puppets
puppet shows
fairgrounds
audio

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Will Hay was a northern showman and Punch and Judy puppeteer. He came from a family of travelling entertainers; his great grandfather, John Morrison, had joined Pindar's Circus when it was on tour in Sutherland while his grandfather, William Duncan Morrison, and uncle, Duncan Morrison, put on Punch and Judy shows in and around Inverness. The Morrisons were also well-known for their bone-setting skills.

In this audio extract, Will talks about the open-air circuses.

Things wisnae going so well, ye see? Taxes an one thing an another I suppose. But, way back when ma mother was young, they found it easier, an cheaper, for to run an open-air circus than packin, travelling, an all that sort o thing, ye see? Now, instead of having to pay for tents an various things, they just stuck a ring round a clothes line, or whatever it was, an they did their horses, their bear acts, the wolves acts, inside this square, ye see? Now, all ye needed to do there, wherever ye happened to pull in, was just stick up a clothes line, an start. No tents to pull down, no tents to put up. Nothing. An that went on for quite a long number of years. An then over a period of time, there's things change, ye see? They got these side shows an that sort o thing. Well, as things changed, they were making probably more money wi the side shows, so they just gradually cut down an cut down on the act, till eventually it just came till e side show an that's the way it is today

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Memories of a showman - open-air circuses

1980s; 1990s

showmen; carnivals; circuses; funfairs; puppets; puppet shows; fairgrounds; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Will Hay, Memories of a Showman

Will Hay was a northern showman and Punch and Judy puppeteer. He came from a family of travelling entertainers; his great grandfather, John Morrison, had joined Pindar's Circus when it was on tour in Sutherland while his grandfather, William Duncan Morrison, and uncle, Duncan Morrison, put on Punch and Judy shows in and around Inverness. The Morrisons were also well-known for their bone-setting skills. <br /> <br /> In this audio extract, Will talks about the open-air circuses.<br /> <br /> Things wisnae going so well, ye see? Taxes an one thing an another I suppose. But, way back when ma mother was young, they found it easier, an cheaper, for to run an open-air circus than packin, travelling, an all that sort o thing, ye see? Now, instead of having to pay for tents an various things, they just stuck a ring round a clothes line, or whatever it was, an they did their horses, their bear acts, the wolves acts, inside this square, ye see? Now, all ye needed to do there, wherever ye happened to pull in, was just stick up a clothes line, an start. No tents to pull down, no tents to put up. Nothing. An that went on for quite a long number of years. An then over a period of time, there's things change, ye see? They got these side shows an that sort o thing. Well, as things changed, they were making probably more money wi the side shows, so they just gradually cut down an cut down on the act, till eventually it just came till e side show an that's the way it is today